The One Rule to Happiness

Would you like to know the “One Rule to Happiness?” Here it is… there is no “one rule!”  It’s a recipe, a combination of things that help you achieve the life you desire. There is, however, one truth and that truth is that the quality of your life depends on the people in your life.  

Imagine that you live your life in one room and that one room has only one door. Now imagine that this door is an “Entrance Only” door, “No Exit!”  Whoever comes through this door will be in your room and your life – forever! They can never get out.

Luckily, this is a metaphor but let’s assume for a moment it was true. If so, would you be more selective about the people that you let into your life? Everyone I’ve ever talked to has said, “oh yea, definitely!”

So, the question then is – why aren’t we more selective? In fact, I would argue that the “Room Principle” is more than a metaphor. Think for a moment about someone who was once in your life, but they are no longer part of your life. Think of their name. Remember how they created chaos in your life. Maybe they were angry or toxic or just difficult to be around. Take a moment – do you have someone in mind?

Well, if they’re still in your head – they’re still in your in your room because every decision you make in the future will be based in part on the past experiences you had with this person. Neuroscientist, Dr. Daniel Amen, says; “that significant input that is received in your brain triggers neural activity that cannot simply be erased.” In other words, their fingerprints are all over your brain.

The Doorkeeper

This means that if you want to create your best life, you need to learn how to screen entry into your room. For this, I recommend the “Doorkeeper Principle.” The Doorkeeper guards entry into your room and your life. This is your conscious and subconscious mind. It is a process of thought and feelings to help you determine whether your door should remain closed or be opened to allow someone entry into your life.

The first thing you need to do is train your Doorkeeper on your values. This is important because you want to allow people into your room who have values that are resonant with yours. They don’t have to be the same values, but they can’t be dissonant or incongruent with yours. When I ask people to name their top 5-7 values, you can generally hear crickets so here’s a great technique to begin the training: start with your “deal-breakers.” These are the behaviors that are incongruent with yours. These are the things that you refuse to allow into your room and into your life starting now. They may be things like being toxic, exhibiting excess drama, not being truthful, not being positive.  They are the things that you just can’t stand to be around. When you start understanding these, it’s easier to move towards the things you do want around you. If you want to begin this process, go to a site on the internet that will help you to determine the values that you want to live your life by.

Understanding your values and training your Doorkeeper will help you screen all the future people who try to gain entry into your room, but what do you do with some of the negative or toxic people that are already there?

Two Techniques to Use

Here are two great techniques to use. First, is “Benign Neglect.” This is where you gradually reduce contact and interaction with someone. Assuming that you don’t want to burn bridges, but you do want to remove yourself from the relationship, a gradual dis-entanglement over a period of time is very effective. This works even when you don’t want it to. Think about someone you really did like but that you lost touch with over the years. This generally happens through unplanned benign neglect. Now, imagine achieving this with a plan.

The second way to help you address people in your room you wish you hadn’t allowed entry to is through “Homeopathic Doses.” A homeopathic dose is the minimum dose necessary to treat a problem. In this case, it’s about dealing with people in your room by structuring your interaction with them in very small doses.

Other people have power over your happiness only if you let them. Don’t let them. Instead, curate the life of your dreams.

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